Antique Lures



Personal Opinion

'National Fishing Lure Collector's Club'

What it is and is not

What the NFLCC is and is not:

The National Fishing Lure Collector's Club is not the boy scouts.  Never has been.  Never will be.   It's people.  All kinds of people.  Good people. Great people.  Bad people.   Nice people and not so nice people.  Some of them are your neighbors and some of them you don't want for neighbors, but they are all the "public".   This is not church and it's not your father's Rotary Club.  So when a "member" does something you don't like or agree with, don't brand the whole club "crooks".  Realize you are dealing with "the public" and behave accordingly.

The members of the NFLCC club are not screened for membership.  Anyone who can walk, crawl, ride up to a show, or mail a letter (that would be me) can join.   Pay your $25 dues and you get the secret decoder ring and a badge saying you belong.  From there on buddy... you are on your on.   An NFLCC sanctioned show, like the National, will not protect you from evil doers or their dirty deeds.  The NFLCC hasn't taken a strong stand on fakes and repaints and that in itself is a reason to join and work within the system to rectify the problem.  If you don't like the problem of repaints and fakes, join and do something about it.

Some of the nicest people I have ever met are members of the NFLCC.  Some of the most well meaning individuals you will ever meet will become your friends over the years.   But, thieves are lurking among the 99% who are up-standing, wonderful,  and truthful members of the club.   (Like I said, it ain't the Boy Scouts and Superman isn't going to come floating down to rescue you if you make an enemy or encounter one of the 'jokers'.)

There is no oath of honesty, respect for motherhood, or promise to be faithful to you as a member when you join.   Have you ever watched a bunch of sharks circle dead bait?  Well, my friend, if you have money to spend or rare lures for sale you are the bait. 

The club was founded by men who were for the most part wood lure collectors.  They were more interested in accumulating 'examples' of old lures and were more than happy to trade back and forth to accumulate a collection.  Lures then were cheap compared with today's values.  Of course all that is changing because no one can afford or find wood lures any more, so the complexion of the club will change.   But, it will take time.   The old timers don't mean to be snotty with the youngsters, but they have serious things on their mind at a how to get that new-in-the-box Woods Expert they saw under so-and-so's table before old-what's-his-face buys it.   We're talking fierce competition here.  It's not 'kick ball' in the school yard.  It's ice hockey.  These people can get ugly if you get in their way of acquiring a lure or box.  

Just remember these guys will espouse about all kinds of lofty ethics, motherhood, and talk about how they 'only collect' and 'never deal',  but throw a valuable Heddon on the table and all bets are off.  If you've heard of the boarding house reach...don't get your hand in the way of their fork.

There is no sponsorship system to assure that someone stands up for new members and then takes responsibility for their actions.  (There should be a new member sponsorship program, but there isn't.)  If you needed three co-sponsors to join, it would cut down on some of the "characters" who join, steal, cheat others, and then leave.  Fortunately these individuals are few and far between.

The club is mostly run by the "old guys in the club" because they have time to do it and no one else wants to do it because it's a thankless, lousy job.  Some of them are on a power trip, so address them accordingly.  Beware of political types who can ruin your day, but on the other hand, befriend the guys and gals who work their tails off to make the hobby run and put on shows.  They are the tireless minority who do all the slave work and you want to get to know them all.

The President of the club doesn't give a toot what you think on a given day because he's too busy listening to idiots like me tell him repaints are going to ruin the world.   It's a dirty rotten job for a volunteer and there is no way they could ever pay him or her enough.  The secretary and treasurer have similar faults and problems as well as a totally thankless job.  Be glad they are there, shut up, sit down, and let them do their thankless job.

If you want to join and learn, you can make friends who will teach you.  Some of the older members have true photographic memories.  They know everything.  Getting them to tell you is the real trick.  Start by making friends, not causing trouble.  Listen.  Don't talk.  Don't buy until you know enough and then ask again for an opinion.   Be courteous to a fault.  Never lie because sooner or later you are going to forget what you said to whom and it's going to come back and bite you in the wallet area. 

If you want to buy lures and remain a loner, spending your money on unknown pieces for outlandish prices you can do that.   If you need a friend to help you figure out what is going on, you can find one in the club, but just like in grade school, there are good guys and bad guys on the play ground.  You just have to figure out who they are.  Hopefully you learned how to do that in grade school at recess.  If not, you are going to have problems dealing with some of these adults.

If a child wants to join the club and start collecting, there is no better or safer place on Earth other than his or her mother's kitchen.  I've seen some hardened old coots just melt and give perfectly good lures to a little dark eyed beauty who said she was collecting "mice".   By the end of the show, the kid had a full collection and a hundred new friends.   It happens at every show.  Adults, especially social idiots, are going to have a real hard time getting anywhere at a show unless they know how to get along with people.

On the other side of the spectrum, I've seen more than my share of screw jobs done on unsuspecting "members" who thought they were dealing with an honest person.  (Sometimes what isn't said about a lure is worse than what is said.  A dealer doesn't want to get stuck with a $500 lure which has a problem.  Unless you ask questions, he may not tell you everything....) It is going to happen, and nothing is going to stop it.  It's part of the culture from which much of the material is "picked" in the field.  The people who "pick" lures at garage sales are not necessarily Scout Masters.  Let's just call a spade a spade and face the fact that some of the more unsavory characters in the club are out-right crooks and let it go at that.  Why should the whole club be branded a bunch of crooks for the actions of a  very small minority?  Identify them, smile, keep your mouth shut, your money in your pocket,  and move on is my policy.

With the amount of money some lures and boxes are trading hands for, (thousands), there are people out there who will kill you for that amount.   I'm not kidding now.  When the price of a lure gets to the level of what a teacher or construction worker makes a year, much less a month, you've got a real incentive and motivation for a crooked thinker (evil doer!) to take advantage.  This is where knowledge comes in handy and where you need to chose your friends carefully.   The people who have the knowledge are in the NFLCC.  They are the dolphins in the sea of sharks and you have to figure out how to swim with the dolphins and not be eaten by the sharks.  Do you get my drift?

Buying lures or any type of tackle on places like eBay is dangerous enough and there is very little you can do if you don't have experience in handling a lot of lures or whatever to know what is real and what is a fake.  The high prices are bringing in the fakers, reproductionists, and other charlatans.  Where are you going to learn about what is real, what is not a fake, and find a friend to help you figure out what you should or should not bid on when on eBay?   The NFLCC, that's where.

I hope I have not stepped on any toes here.  (Actually I really don't care.)    I'm just trying to get a point across to people who think if they join the NFLCC all the members are going to take them under their wings and coddle them.   Hellooooo!  It's the real world out there and you better wake up and pay attention.  Join the club to learn and if you make a few friends you can trust along the way... well, all the better.  But, don't expect anyone to give you a break or hand you anything for free.  We are talking about expensive antiques here and you better know what you are doing if you want to crawl off the porch and run with the big dogs in the field. 

If you make a mistake, just keep your mouth closed, learn from your experience, and figure it was part of your tuition at the school of antique tackle collecting.  We've all made the mistakes.  Some of us have made more than others.  Some of us never learn.


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